Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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June 11 – Hearing His Admonition

“He made it a decree in Joseph when He went out over the land of Egypt. I hear a language I had not known: ‘I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket. In distress you called, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah. Hear, O My people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to Me!'” Psalm 81:5-8

Devotional Thought For The Day

We reflected upon this “decree in Joseph” which God made when He graciously delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of Egypt in the Exodus last Monday. It was a call back to the worship of God, the only True and Living God, Who had graciously and mercifully delivered them from bondage and servitude. These dynamics of God’s gracious mercy, love, and acts of deliverance for His people are again referenced in these verses.  It was in their distress, and not some position of preeminence, power, privilege, or holiness, that He acted and delivered them.  They simply “called” out to God and He “delivered” them.  They prayed and He answered them.

God’s physical deliverance of His people was just the beginning of His great love for them.  He also “tested” them “at the waters of Meribah.” Throughout their journeying in the wilderness they were trained by “testing” to know and believe the love that He had for them. The same testing continued throughout the period of the judges, and throughout the years they existed as a nation.  Always, as in this psalm, He reminded them of His gracious and merciful love for them through His Word, delivered by His prophets in Holy Scripture, as He wooed them back to faith in His love, and to love for Him, and as He tried to wean them away from love of darkness and evil. Almost constantly, it often seems as we read the record of Holy Scripture, they rejected His gracious love and mercy and demanded the “freedom” to be judged on the basis of their own works. They weighed their “righteousnesses” against their sin, rebellion, and indiscretions, and commended themselves to God as having achieved a “passing” grade in comparison to those around them. They asserted that they were still honoring God, even if not fully and completely – and trusted their own “goodness” rather than His mercy.

So even in this psalm the complaint of God, and His admonition is the same: “Hear, O My people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to Me!”  But they would not “hear” and “heed” the Word of God, the message of His law’s condemnation and the good news of His free and gracious forgiveness, mercy, and salvation – instead they insisted that they be judged by His law, on the basis of their own “goodness,” and graded on a curve of their own devising. And so they refused to be healed by His love, and they cut themselves off from His healing by rejecting His Word and turning to the wisdom of the false prophets of their times. This culminated at the coming of Jesus, in the Scribes and Pharisees, who rejected God’s Word, His call to repentance, and His gracious salvation, choosing instead to reject, arrest, abuse, abase, and crucify the Son of God, the Savior of the world. They serve as the dismal example of the inner dynamics of all who refuse to take comfort in God’s gracious mercy alone, and instead focus on commending themselves to God on the basis of their own goodness, spiritual capabilities, and self-determination.

Whether within so-called “Christian” groups, or within the cults and sects, or within the great “religions” of the world, or even among our atheistic secular fellows, the grievous rebellion against God and His Word remains this impenitent insistence that our own goodness and righteousness is enough, and if not, let God be despised, killed, and cursed. They do not need His Word – they have their own “prophets” and “inner” revelations. Indeed, they have their own god – and consoled, self-assured, and smug in this faith, they utterly reject God, the only True and Living God. They do not listen to Him.

Pray God you never fall in with them – and fall from faith, true and genuine faith. God grant that we always hear His Word, remain in His love, rejoice in His goodness and mercy, that we grow and are groomed in genuine faith and true love by His testings.

Prayer For The Day

Dear gracious and loving Heavenly Father, grant us true faith to grasp the nature of Your wondrous salvation, and forbid that we have any trust, pride, or confidence in our own goodness and good works. In this way free us for real and genuine love for you – and grant that we humble ourselves to follow Your Word rather than our own self-invented pieties. Amen.